Students affected by meningitis at Franklin school - WSMV Channel 4

Students affected by meningitis at Franklin school

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Four families of students who attend Oak View Elementary School reported to the Williamson County school system that their children contracted viral meningitis last month.

Schools director Mike Looney said at a Tuesday news conference that the families reported the cases to them after seeing a doctor.

The acting principal of the school then sent a letter to parents on Sept. 20, the week the cases were self reported.  Another letter was sent to parents on Sept. 25.

School leaders said since doctors are not required to report viral meningitis to the health department, the school system does not have a confirmed number of cases.

Extra cleaning crews were brought to the school over the weekend to help prevent it from spreading. Buses that service the school have also been cleaned.

"It appears we're on the downward slide of the virus running its course at Oak View," said Looney.

Students from kindergarten to 5th grade attend Oak View Elementary School.

Parent Lynn Cumming said viral meningitis is a concern, but it's no reason to keep her daughter from class.

"Everything goes through school, so of course it's concerning. I'm not going to keep my child out of school, but I am just going to pay attention to her and go the doctor if need be," Cumming said.

Last month, a Middle Tennessee State University student and Mt. Juliet student died from bacterial meningitis.

Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center announced Monday that two patients died from fungal meningitis from lumbar epidural steroid injections between July 30, 2012, and Sept. 20, 2012.

What are the symptoms?

Meningitis is a relatively uncommon disease but it strikes quick and can be deadly especially in young children.

Parents need to act immediately if your child shows any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • High fever
  • Stiffness in the neck, shoulders
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Light sensitivity
  • Rash
  • Vomiting

These symptoms usually worsen rapidly.

Viral meningitis

You've probably heard meningitis called either a viral or bacterial infection, but you may not know the difference between the two.

Viral meningitis is usually caused by another viral disease such as the flu and is much more common than the bacterial form.

Viral meningitis is considered extremely contagious, but doctors say it's rarely fatal. Patients usually show symptoms for a week or two, then see a full recovery.

Bacterial meningitis

On the other hand, bacterial meningitis is considered a critical illness that is usually caused by an internal infection and can worsen in a matter of hours.

Complications could cause permanent hearing or vision loss, brain damage, paralysis and even death.

Bacterial meningitis is usually only spread by coughing or sneezing.

Similar symptoms for both

Both versions exhibit the same symptoms, so it's impossible to tell which version your child has without a doctor.

The only way to test for meningitis is through spinal fluid testing, so you need to take your child to the doctor immediately if they start showing these symptoms.

Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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